A shell pearl is a pearl made from the shell of oysters, mollusks and other similar creatures. It is also known by the name of 'mother of pearl' and is used in ornaments, jewelries, clothing and accessories. It can serve as either a fashion piece or an accent in various uses. The shell pearl remains as an item of design and currently serves no other functional purposes. The material does not possess any levels of conductivity, it is not malleable, nor is it strong enough to serve other uses. The market and demand for shell pearls however, is still consistent as it is used consistently by jewelers world wide.
The creation of a shell bead takes several steps, all of which are man-made processes. These processes are important as they determine the final look and quality the shell pearl will have when it is ready for public usage. This process starts from various specialized mother of pearl sea beds and artificial pools where oysters and mollusks grow in abundance and in good health and form. This provides a stable and consistent source of high quality shells that will be used for the creation of the shell bead. These shell farms also produce actual pearls.
The Creation of a Shell Pearl
Once the shells are cultivated from the water farms, these shells are brought into processing in order to make Shell Pearls. The first step begins with selecting good shells from which pearls will be made from. The shells are cut into strips that can be easily cut by machine and formed into small spheres. These spheres are rough and unpolished, and have to be manually shaped by hand to achieve a better, more beautiful shape. After the shell is turned into beads, the beads are checked for quality and are machine drilled with tiny holes that will be used to string the beads together.
Stringing the beads together is done by hand. These strung beads are then framed and stored for final processing. The framing of the beads is done by connecting the ends of strings into a large frame. The result is a frame of several strings of beads aligned parallel to each other. These shell pearl beads are then coated with dyes; this is how colored beads are made. To perfect the coating of the dye, the shell pearls are brought into a large oven where they will be baked. This step not only creates a good coat of dye, but also tempers the consistency and toughness of the bead.
After baking the shell pearls, they are removed from the frames and the strings for the last finishing touches. The first finishing touch is polishing. Polishing involves removing excess dye and creating a good and consistent glossy finish throughout the bead. This is done by machine. After polishing, the pearls are then sent to the last quality control phase where they are inspected for any flaws. Those that pass are then sorted according to color and size. Once they are sorted, the pearls are packed and are sent to suppliers across the globe.